The revolutionary style known as Art Nouveau swept Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century, transforming the decorative arts and architecture. Gallé was the first major exponent to infuse his designs with one of the principle concepts of this new style, turning to nature for inspiration. He inspired numerous artists in his native city of Nancy, to abandon the previous use of historical styles. The group known as the Ecole de Nancy, is now recognized as a major exponent of Art Nouveau. Gallé himself worked in two fields, glass and furniture. While most of his furniture designs exist in numerous examples, this model is rare, the only other known version being that in the Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy.
Inscription: Signed (lower right of cabinet door, inlaid): Gallé
the artist, Nancy (until d. 1904); [Macklowe Gallery, New York, until 1982; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Highlights from the Modern Design Collection: 1900 to the Present," June 23, 2009–May 1, 2011, no catalogue.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky, Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013, no. 073.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky, Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 1–May 9, 2013, no. 073.
Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 1983, p. 428, no. 39, ill. (color), calls it "Hanging Cabinet".